Habitat for Humanity to raise walls Sunday

Staff Writer
Friday, July 14, 2017

AMHERST — Walls will be raised for a new Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity project in North Amherst Sunday afternoon that marks its first collaboration with the Amherst Community Land Trust.

The new duplex, on a 3/4-acre parcel at 1075 North Pleasant St., will begin going up at 3 p.m. These will be the 40th and 41st Habitat homes in the region,

The project came about as the result of the land trust, a private charitable entity, acquiring the property from the North Amherst Community Farm for $113,600, with the sale used to help pay off a $1.2 million loan it secured to preserve nearly 38 acres at the former Dziekanowski family farm. Much of the land continues to be used for agricultural purposes by Simple Gifts Farm.

The future homeowners, one couple with two children and a mother with two children, will be on hand to begin contributing their 250 hours of sweat equity per adult before purchasing their homes from Habitat and signing a 99-year lease on the land with the land trust.

Habitat Executive Director Megan McDonough said the homes will be sold for $139,900 or less, with construction to be complete in spring or summer 2018. A move-in date for the families is not yet known, she said.

The partnership between the two organizations was made possible through funding from the town’s Community Preservation Act and the Interfaith Housing Corporation of Amherst.

Maurianne Adams, a member of the land trust, said in an email that it is exciting to see the duplex take shape.

“ACLT has benefitted greatly from this collaboration with Habitat on ACLT’s first project,” Adams said. “Habitat has tremendous experience in creating affordable housing with private funding, charitable fund-raising, and volunteer work.”

While there are sufficient volunteers for Sunday, McDonough said anyone interested in the project can observe and meet the families.

“We are happy to welcome supporters of the project to be part of the ceremony,” McDonough said.

Parking is limited and people are encouraged to park off site. Because it is a construction area, visitors should wear closed-toes shoes.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.